By: Henry Amador
My son was born four days after my 48th birthday.
Growing, I never really thought I would experience fatherhood, why would I?
Gay men of that time didn’t aspire to be husbands and daddies, those titles were not generally handed out to us.
Like many gay men of my generation, we grew assuming that our lives would be and should be, childless.
There are still many men of my age that believe that to be true.
Life changed rather quickly for me.
I went from being a single, rather self indulgent, comfortable gay man living a pretty nifty life in South Florida, to finding the man of my dreams, taking a jet plane with loved ones in hand to tie the knot in Boston, to being handed our newly born son, all in the matter of a few short yet magical years.
Adjusting to the circumstances was simple.
Viewing it technically, like many men do, and reacting appropriately was easy.
Logical thinking, right brain thinking, all the surface stuff comes rather quickly, rather innocently.
But digging deep and pulling out the paternal/maternal tools, the real emotional grit, the heartfelt stuff, the core things that I should have been able to access naturally, now that was a very different story.
You see, growing up gay, during a time when gay men were just never expected to be having families, meant that we were denied very important information from our caregivers. We were denied the generational knowledge that is passed on to the next generation in-order to ensure the survival of the tribe, the passing on of the torch so to speak.
Now this was not intentional really, our parents just reached new (for them) levels of understanding that they were not going to be grandparents. They accepted the fact that their sons and daughters would hopefully just find a mate, the terms husbands and wives were not readily being used yet.
Just a mate, someone to grow old with, to find companionship with, to travel with and to not be alone with.
Marriage and family was not on the horizon then.
The movement towards equality has been relatively quick in the recent years right?
So there are people alive right now that never expected their children to become parents.
There are men, like me, walking this earth that never expected to be husbands and dads and yet we find ourselves growing in numbers each and every day.
We basically closed our eyes one day as single men, never expecting much more than that, to opening them the next to a new reality that was overwhelming, exciting, joyous and terrifying all at once.
When I began my Life Coaching practice I never expected that I would find the niche that I did.
Parenting is tough enough as it is but imagine finding yourself holding a brand new little being that now depends on you for it’s every single need and not being able to source the tools required to ensure its basic survival, not being sure that you will be able to meet all their delicate and necessary emotional dependency needs?
It can be an extremely difficult and isolating feeling.
So what tools am I referring too?
When my mother finally accepted the fact that I was never going to have a family of my own our dynamic completely changed, without a doubt.
My personal, intimate relationships were not given the same respect that would have been given to a heterosexual one.
The “girlfriend” might have become my wife, who might have become the mother of my children, the bearer of her grandchildren, follow the thought pattern out?
That was all my mom had to work with, those were the ideas and tools she was given to work with, that’s why I say there is no blame in the situation, it just is what it is.
My relationships, since they did not appear to hold the same end result, were treated more casually.
The boyfriends that were invited to our family’s holiday table were never handed a sweet folded up family recipe (like in the commercials we see on tv) to carry on the family tradition.
Those boyfriends were not given the same insights and knowledge that the straight mate would have been treated too, they were certainly brought into the fold, but very differently… make sense?
Fathers of the time, coming to accept that their sons were not going to be carrying on the family name had powerful shifts of thoughts that greatly affected their sons when the time suddenly came that they would be doing just that, having children, carrying on the family names only now without the stories and guidance and the examples that they would be reaching in for when the time was right… make sense?
So now here we are, husbands and fathers, wives and mothers, clutching our little ones closely as we guide them over uncharted waters, holding them tightly and trying to figure it out.
We, this new band of brothers, join parenting groups that resemble us because we do not readily see ourselves as we stroll down the streets.
We are a new breed of parent, a differently educated breed, one that looks to google for grandmotherly advise, one that looks to a life-coach to affirm that doing the best you can is all you really have to do, one that seeks out kindness and acceptance in a world that is all to ready to find fault in not only how we parent but in the mere fact that we can parent.
There are however many amazing positives and possibilities in this new world of ours.
We are not limited to our historical idea of what parenting is or what it looks like.
We have my mere fact of our emergence, created communities that did not exist before, communities that nourish us, that hold us close and lift us up.
Yet best of all, if my son grows and learns one day that he himself may be gay, he will never have to question his ability to parent or his right to parent, he will simply reach into his heart and pull out one of the tools his dads instilled in him and hopefully find a couple of lovely recipes too.